Allegrini 2018

Helmut Rothenberger bets on the Nobile di Montepulciano, with Icario

One of Austria's top entrepreneurs, head of a holding company of 1.5 billion euros: “Nobile among the most undervalued wines, we aim to be an example"

He is one of the most important industrialists in Austria, at the head of a family holding company with 6,000 employees and 1.5 billion euros in turnover and he wants, in no uncertain terms, to become one of the reference producers of “Nobile di Montepulciano, a wine that I love, and that, in my opinion, is one of the great Italian wines most undervalued”. Helmut Rothenberger, one of the many foreign entrepreneurs struck by his love for Italian wine, told WineNews that in 2015 he bought the Icario estate in Montepulciano (built by the Cecchetti family with an eye on design and art), among the founders of the Sda, ed), 51 hectares in total, of which 22 hectares of vineyards (which will soon become 25), on the northern side of the town “pearl of the Renaissance”, which form an amphitheater of rows overlooking the Val di Chiana. “I fell in love with this estate because I think it is one of the most beautiful in Italy - explains the entrepreneur, during the party for the first 20 vintages of Icario - and my dream is to make it a special company, which becomes a point of reference for the quality of the territory of Nobile di Montepulciano. And to show that Nobile di Montepulciano has nothing less than Brunello di Montalcino”.
Ambitious aims, and since the arrival of the Rothenberger many things have changed, ”from the agronomic approach to the wine-making, increasingly oriented to the sustainability and quality of the wine, and less to the quantity”, explains to WineNews Ilaria Ippoliti, general manager of Icario.
A company run according to the logic of sustainability, “but without certification, at least for now, because I do not think it is important to write it on the label, and because we do not want too many curbs, even if we are very careful about the quality of the environment that surrounds us: we work with precision agriculture, we have sown many varieties of herbs to keep the soil fertile, and not only”, explains Rothenberger, who sees a bright future for Icario. “Most of our vineyards are at 450 meters above sea level, always windy, thanks to what we like to call here “Icario breeze” and this is helping us a lot to manage, for example, climate change. Our goal is to produce wines and an increasingly elegant Nobile, not powerful and muscular”.
The attention to quality is maximum: each parcel of the vineyard is zoned and is vinified separately. At his court, the Austrian entrepreneur has called one of the most experienced and authoritative enological consultants in Italy, Franco Bernabei, while the care of the vineyards is entrusted to the Simonit & Sirch method. “In my company (which deals mainly with the mechanical industry) I make decisions that become operational immediately, here I can only look at the sky and hope that everything goes well. Among these vineyards, I have rediscovered the value of time, and that nature cannot be forced”.

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